The Endless Fascination of Printmaking

transfer-print-on-fine-gold-backgroundThis is one of my hand-made transfer prints. It is part of a Brooklyn rooftop graffiti scene. The boy in the painting was appropriated by the artist, Chris Stain, from the photographer, Martha Cooper. Now I have appropriated it from Chris. Here I give the piece an old world, weathered charm, by transferring it onto a fine gold basecoat. For the final touch I scoured it gently with fine steel wool: I didn’t want the gold to take over from the drawings and other elements of the work.

If you are starting out in printmaking, you will find it is equally rewarding as well as frustrating. Working on intaglios, getting the lines right, distributing the ink in the right amount and in the right place may be all well and good, until you find you’ve used the wrong paper! Then you have to start all over again because the paper just refused to cooperate and help you create your masterpiece! But you learn from your mistakes. Printing is as much about the process as it is about the print. I’ve wasted many sheets of $28-$30 print paper trying to get a print right. I am still learning what works and what doesn’t. In all of this, the artist’s eye is most important. Watch Kiki Smith prove this point in the short video below.


Key West

I am here at the southernmost southern point in the United States. Cannot go to Key West and not see the Hemingway House and go on a boatride or two. Here are some pictures for you to enjoy. Hey! Did you know that Key West was once owed by a Cuban man (it was private ownership) who sold the island to an American? Yep! It’s true.

Modern day pirate ship in the Gulf Coast
a real museum piece on a Key West sidewalk. (Zero emissions!)
who the heck knows what that geodesic ball is! It’s on a spit of land owned by the Navy.
Cats, cats, everywhere!
Cats, cats, everywhere!
One of Hem’s old typewriters
Cat House! Zoom in to see the cat resting inside
Cuban bananas at the Hemingway place (These trees are about 9-ft tall!)

New York or Hamburg Steinway?

silent hare what do you hear
silent hare what do you hear

Which piano should one use to perform Mozart’s Concerto No. 22? A Steinway, yes; but which one? A New York Steinway? A Hamburg Steinway? And just what exactly is the difference between the two? Watch as Jan Lisiecki chooses his piano for his upcoming (debut!) concert at the San Francisco Symphony:

Jan choses a piano.

Before Organic Farming Was a “Thing”

a page from my sketch book

Before organic farming was a thing, there was ital cooking by Jamaica’s Rastafarians. Here is an 8-minute video on hillside farming in Nonsuch, Portland (Jamaica): natural eating.

If you ever get a chance to visit Portland, Jamaica, try to visit the Nonsuch Cave, a system of  nine chambers of stalagmites and stalactites. Inside this cave you will find seashells and other fossils embedded into the walls. This is quite amazing since the cave is high atop a hill! This area must once have been undersea. A favorite place to stay when on this end of the island is Trident Castle: here, peacocks greet you from the rooftops at evening time.


Japantown Nihonmachi – Art Passport 2015


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Part I of II

A good way to get to know a neighborhood is to attend the San Francisco Arts Commission’s annual Passport event. This year’s art walk took place in San Francisco’s Japantown. Here are the first 8 of 16 passport stamps collected from various artists.

Stay tuned for Part II, where I’ll post the remaining 8 stamps from Passport 2015.

Lick Observatory, Mount Hamilton

photo 4
The Lick 36 inch refractor beneath a closed dome

If you haven’t been to the Lick, here’s something you should know — To get there you will have an 18-19 mile, predominantly uphill climb along a winding road. The vistas are breathtaking, but there are many, many sheer cliff drop offs, so it’s best to keep your eyes on the road. And too, bicyclists love this road; they come tearing around corners at breakneck speed, sometimes, half way in your lane. Yes, you’d better keep your eyes on the road and keep a look out for them too.


I’ve cycled my share of mountains but this road (California 130) is madness for a bicyclist. Yesterday, I was barely 4 miles up (about 2 miles before Grant Park) when I found a cyclist down. It looks like he took quite a tumble descending the mountain. The poor guy was in need of medical attention though I don’t even know where a helicopter could land near where he happened to be. His fellow bikers were helping him and wrapping him up to keep him insulated. A good samaritan ahead of me was directing traffic around the spot. I sure hope he is 2a


The building to the left in this photograph looks like it has eyes and a mouth. (This is a side view of the main building where the 36 inch refractor is.)

photo 5There were some really nice 18th century door hinges in a display case but I couldn’t get any good photographs of them. Oooooh they’d make lovely rubbings for an art piece.

This tube-like glass gadget is/was used in photography. This sample is from around the the 1930s. The Lick Observatory itself, was built in the 1880s. This tube will probably show up in my art. You never know where your inspiration might come from!

Below is a slideshow of Lick Observatory postcards:

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